Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 179-182

First online:

Changes in Intendedness During Pregnancy in a High-Risk Multiparous Population

  • Victoria L. PooleAffiliated withSchool of Nursing, University of Alabama
  • , Juanzetta S. FlowersAffiliated withSchool of Nursing, University of Alabama
  • , Robert L. GoldenbergAffiliated withSchool of Medicine, University of Alabama
  • , Suzanne P. CliverAffiliated withSchool of Medicine, University of Alabama
  • , Sandre McNealAffiliated withUniversity of Alabama

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Objectives: Our objectives were to determine whether pregnancy intendedness changes as the pregnancy progresses and, if so, in what direction. Methods: Intendedness questions similar to those used in the 1988 National Survey of Family Growth were administered in the second trimester of pregnancy (16–18 weeks) and again in the third trimester (30–32 weeks) to a population of 1223 low-income women who were medically at high risk. Information was also collected on characteristics identified in previous studies as being associated with intendedness. Changes in reported intendedness status were categorized as positive if the woman switched from unwanted to mistimed or intended or from mistimed to intended. Changes were categorized as negative if the woman switched from intended to mistimed or unwanted or from mistimed to unwanted. Results: Among the 436 women who reported an intended pregnancy at midpregnancy, 79.1% still reported the pregnancy as intended in late pregnancy, while 15.9% moved to mistimed and 6.4% to unwanted. Of the 601 women who reported a mistimed pregnancy in midpregnancy, 80.9% still reported it as mistimed in late pregnancy, with 13.9% switching to intended and 5.2% switching to unwanted. Of the 186 women who reported an unwanted pregnancy at midpregnancy, 62.9% remained unwanted, 30.7% switched to mistimed, and 6.4% switched to intended. Conclusions: This study indicates that intendedness is not fixed during pregnancy. Between the first and the second administration of the intendedness questions, 275 (22.5%) of the women changed their responses and the larger percentage (12.5%) changed them in a positive direction. These findings have both policy and clinical implications.

Intendedness of pregnancy pregnancy unwanted pregnancy